Thousands of people joined together to climb the 1,776 steps to the peak of the CN Tower.
United Way Greater Toronto organized the UP2018 climb with prizes and trophies for the fastest climbers.
Among the participants were Humber College students and faculty, cheering each other on during the race to the top.
“Our goal is to raise $2 million for the community, to frontline agencies that support issues like poverty, new immigrants, homelessness issues and just a huge wide gamut of necessary services to help people in need,” said Alisha Coroa, associate manager of Fundraising Enablement and Learning at United Way.
“My advice for the climbers is to be reminded of what they are doing for the society and the funded dollars that they have raised for United way is helping their own community, that is a huge piece of empowerment,” she said.
Humber College’s First Year Experience helps new students transition into college. The climb is just one of many events the peer mentoring program has hosted.
“We take pride in helping out our community as much as possible,” said Zamin Mohsin, a member of the First Year Experience.
“Climb in pairs, climb in teams and that’s how you make it to the top like everything in life, do it as a group, do it as a community just like the United Way itself,” said Derek Stockley, Dean of Social and Community Services and Principal of the Lakeshore Campus.
“There so much energy in the room, the students and community members joining is just amazing and especially that it’s for such a great cause,” he said.
Many of the climbers chose to come in teams. Samantha Callow, a paralegal professor attended the event with her kids.
“The climb is a way to demonstrate to my kids that they have a way of learning and contributing to their community, it takes a bit of grunt and getting up in the morning but it’s worth it,” Callow said.
The World Wildlife Fund estimated the climb usually takes 30 to 40 minutes for the average person.
“I don’t think I am mentally prepared for the climb, but I am going to make it to the top,” said Shaina Smith, a Child and Youth Care student.
“This is an amazing experience to be a part of helping children out, especially low-income families and not just donating money but being a part of it all and come together for a good cause,” said Camila Ruiz Tacha, a Child and Youth Care student.
Climbers from Humber’s paramedic program joined in the event. This was their sixth year participating. Jon Paterson, a paramedic student, finished in 15th with a time of 12 minutes and 57 seconds.
“We are so lucky at United Way to have a partner like CN Tower that allows us to run a event like this in the community. For 41 years it’s been our fall signature event, getting thousands of people out this weekend,” said Allison Sharpe, director of donor engagement at United Way.
Sharpe said climbers are raising around $100 each and that’s all going directly to United Way’s programs which help people rise up out of poverty.
She added that in the tower, everyone is cheering you on and giving you nods of excitement. Each step you take up the tower adds to the impact you are having in somebody else’s life.
“All the way up the tower there are motivational quotes and posters that are encouraging you up, and every so often we remind climbers of issues like helping to battle hunger, eradicate violence against women and social isolation,” Sharpe said.
“All those issues are really important to solve here in our community. We make sure climbers are aware of it because at the end of the day you might be out of breath but you are making a big difference,” she said.